Illinois examines deer management program
regulations and CWD control efforts under review
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[March 24, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department
of Natural Resources is examining its deer management program to
determine if modifications are needed to hunting seasons and
regulations, and to the effort focused in select northern Illinois
counties to reduce the deer population and limit the spread of
chronic wasting disease in the Illinois deer herd.
The review of the state's deer management program is a follow-up to
implementation of a series of recommendations made in 2008 by the
state's Joint Legislative Task Force on Deer Population Control.
Among the task force recommendations was a statewide 14 percent
reduction in the deer herd, as indicated by the rate of deer-vehicle
accidents, with specific county goals identified. The Department of
Natural Resources expanded the late-winter deer season and made
additional permits available in some counties, beginning in 2009, to
encourage hunters to harvest additional surplus deer. The statewide
accident rate is very close to the identified goal, although some
counties still remain higher than desired.
The IDNR also expanded the special chronic wasting disease deer
season in 2009 as part of the program begun in 2002 for surveillance
and targeted herd reduction in counties where CWD had been
CWD is a disease that afflicts deer by causing a degeneration of
the nervous system, and fatal infections can be passed by close
contact among deer.
Since 2004, IDNR has supplemented hunter harvest by using
department sharpshooters each winter to reduce deer densities in
known CWD hotspots in northern Illinois counties. This management
approach has suppressed the rate of CWD infection in deer to very
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While the sharpshooting program is effective, budget reductions
over the past decade are compelling the department to explore
alternative means of reducing deer herd density in CWD counties,
including changes in hunting programs, assisting local landowning
agencies in their own deer herd reduction programs, and working with
local hunters to increase their deer harvest on private lands.
IDNR will conduct an analysis of both deer-related programs
during the coming months and will provide opportunity for public
comment on management goals.
For more information on Illinois deer management, deer hunting
and chronic wasting disease, visit the IDNR website at
Department of Natural Resources file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]